As the Bay Shore football team took the field yesterday, it was surrounded by history. Flanking the players and greeting them during introductions at Bay Shore was a collection of more than 100 former Marauders, representing the program's rich past.
During its homecoming ceremonies, Bay Shore High School honored its five teams that earned the Rutgers award -- a title given to the most outstanding team in the county, as voted on by the coaches.
"We have five of those trophies, which not many schools can boast," said Ted Nagengast, chairman of athletics at Bay Shore High School. "The younger generations haven't seen that recently, so we wanted to shed light on the longstanding tradition here."
Bay Shore's football program began in 1927 and the team received the Rutgers award in 1944, 1951, 1969, 1983 and 1984. The Marauders have 381 victories and 16 championships, including seven undefeated seasons. They last won a title in 1986.
"We had so many players from all different generations -- from as far back as the 1950s up to last year's team," said Nagengast, a former team captain for the Marauders who graduated in 1987. "Some of the kids came home from college to be there and we also had three former head coaches."
The former players were presented replica Rutgers trophies at halftime.
Planning for the event began in September, spearheaded by Bernie Sengstock, a former Bay Shore player. Nagengast said the ceremony would recognize the past while inspiring the current team.
The Marauders lost to Longwood, 62-20, and fell to 1-5 this season. But that did little to dampen the mood.
"It was still a wonderful atmosphere," Nagengast said. "We received so many positive comments from people who thought it was special. As time goes, you don't often hear about the names of the past. We didn't want them to be forgotten."